• Rikki Lambert

SA Liberal MP calls for inquiry into party

Tony Pasin MP (above) with Ministers Taylor and Sukkar in federal parliament

The federal member for Barker, Tony Pasin, says the South Australian Liberal Party needs to stage a review into its operations, criticising its handling of policies in a woeful state election performance and its own membership.

Speaking with Flow on Monday, the south-east MP called for a comprehensive, external analysis of what went wrong:

"There needs to be a substantial internal review, now my view is that review ought to be conducted by someone external to the division of South Australia"
"I could suggest a name like Brian Loughnane, someone who understands the politics, understands how you campaign ... we need to learn the lessons of this substantial defeat."

Mr Pasin indicated some policy and leadership flaws from his perspective on the conduct of the state election campaign that saw Steven Marshall deposed as premier and many Liberal colleagues losing their jobs:

"I'm confident that South Australia's emergency declaration persisted for too long, that led to a long period of policy paralysis and leadership paralysis, we saw issues around land tax, the V8's, radical social policy."
"I don't mind losing political elections if we do it on ideological grounds, but those policy decisions were inconsistent with our ideology and then you throw on top of that the very serious push to push Christians out of the Liberal Party which myself, Senator [Alex] Antic, Nicole Flint and some state colleagues had to fight against, you understand why we've ended up in the situation we have."

Hear the full interview on the Flow podcast player below:

Mr Pasin reflected how the state election campaign and the SA Liberals' leftwards shift on policy had parallels with former Prime Minister Turnbull's embrace of same sex marriage:

"At times during this campaign I felt like I was living out the 2016 Federal Election all over again, it was an election in which our leadership had decided to hip and shoulder the party to the left."
"As a result of which, many of the voters indicated that they wanted to make it clear that they couldn't support a party, a centre-right party that had hung its shingle on the left."
"I can understand why a lot of social conservatives made the decision they perhaps did on the weekend particularly given the abortion-to-birth debate in the midst of a pandemic."